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 Graduate to Plastics
 By Perry Good

Most walleye anglers are familiar with plastic bodied jigs like the Blue Fox Tackle Foxee or Northland Tackle Lipstick.  These jigs have subtle action bodies and are excellent finesse jigs.  The plastic bodies I have in mind have larger bodies and much more tail action. Plastic baits are productive year 'round but I really like them during warm weather.  When the water is warm, fish are frequently more willing to chase a bait.  Plastic bait can be moved quickly, so more water can
be covered.  The more water you cover, the more walleyes you'll have the opportunity to catch.
A jig heavier than normal is required to move the bait along at a quick pace.  Quarter and three-eighths ounce heads are the sizes I use the most with plastics in warm weather, but eighth ounce heads are used in a variety of circumstances also. Walleyes will frequently spread out over shallow flats or on points. When they do so, try front trolling at a fairly quick clip.  Tie on a
jig and plastic trailer heavy enough to stay near the bottom as the boat moves along.  As the trolling pass is made, sweep the rod so the bait jumps, then falls back to the bottom.  A 6'6" Cabelas Where Americas sportsmen shop medium heavy action spinning rod with Berkley Fish wont let go XT in eight to ten pound test will be about right. Plastic lures play an important part in three way rigging on rivers. The common three way or Wolf River rig is one of the oldest and most effective means of keeping a bait near the bottom while trolling upstream.  Comprised of six pound test main line and leader, a small
three way swivel, a lead sinker and an assortment of super sharp hooks, upstream rigging is very popular on large rivers like the Mississippi, Illinois, St. Croix, and Missouri. 3-Way rigs are among the oldest yet least refined rigging concepts in walleye fishing.  They’re chiefly used with livebait snells in rivers, lakes and reservoirs during summer months when walleyes move out on deep
flats.  Three-way rigs cover the water quickly when active walleyes spread across flats, but they also excel with slow presentations more subtle to neutral fish. The basic rig features a three-way swivel with two attached lines a 12 to 24 inch drop line with a 1 to 3 ounce bell sinker and a 30 to 40 inch
leader tied to your bait or lure.  The drop line positions your offering set distance above the bottom, while the leader provides an invisible connection between the swivel and lure. Use a 1 2/3 to 3 ounce weight to maintain trolling drifting speeds of 1 1/2 to 2.5 miles per hour with spinners or crankbaits, or to hold live bait steady in current.  Lighter weights 1/2 to 1-ounce work better with
subtle livebait rigs or floating jigheads fished slower with frequent pauses. At the business end of the leader, several live bait and soft plastic options are worth trying.  Soft plastic floating jigs like the Northland Tackle GumDrop Floater produced by Northland Tackle.  This system is simple and offers
fish attracting color in a compact soft plastic package. Plastic grubs or Power Baits can also be easily added to a Wolf River rig. I prefer to add the smaller panfish style curly tail grubs to
floating jig heads to give it more action and added color.  Dressing up a #1 or #2 Aberdeen worm hook with a three or four-inch twister tail is another excellent way to add plastic to your 3-way rig.
Plastic lures can be fished clean on a 3-way rig, but most anglers prefer to tip the plastic with livebait.  Leeches, minnows and crawlers can all be used successfully while 3-way rigging.
Berkley Fish wont let go Power Grubs and Power Worms, especially the new "Neonz" are good
examples of plastic baits with action tails that are extremely productive.  The three and four inch sizes are the best for walleyes, although two inch Grubs can be good with fish that are finicky.  Go with

the larger baits when a slow fall is desired or when the walleyes are active.  The bass angler has caught on to the idea of the plastic worm fishing and I believe that the walleye angler can't be far behind.

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